Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sixth Meeting: Rocket Javelin

Compared to our Fifth Meeting--when we made dry ice bombs, burned random things, fired the potato gun, smashed a PC monitor to bits, and launched a four-stage rocket car--this meeting was downright boring. But it was fun, especially towards the end. :D

We started out with the intent of making circuits and, ultimately, a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that would launch a rocket. But we skipped most of that. :)

We wanted to launch a rocket out of the potato gun. There would be very little point, except that it would be, uh, kinda a 'rocket laucher' of sorts. To fit down the barrel we couldn't use a rocket with fins, so we made one from scratch. It was an extremely complicated design: a cardboard tube, a makeshift paper nose, and a D engine stuffed up the back and secured with masking tape. We put a few party poppers in, in the hope that they would, y'know, pop. Oh, and I snuck a little bonus surprise in there... more on that later.

We tried using the potato gun, but it was virtually impossible to attack the leads to the rocket. In the mean time we amused ourselves with some silly string, which ultimately ended up All. Over. The field. We had initially tried dropping the rocket down and then reaching through the hole in the chamber, but it was too cramped for such a delicate operation. Next we tried threading the wire through the barrel and holding the rocket in place, just poking out the end. We were going to attach it with some of the copious silly string lying around until I remembered that we had tape inside.

On that attempt, though, one of the leads had come disconnected. Awwww.

People were getting bored, so we just put the "rocket javelin" it on top of a chair and launched it. Oh boy was that interesting. After circling several times, bouncing off the ground, and coming to a rest facing the opposite direction from the way it had been launched, people decided it was safe to approach. Willy set off at a sprint.

Here's where my surprise comes in. You see, I had decided that it would be more interesting if there was a second engine inside. And I kinda forgot to tell anyone.

So at this point the rocket shot off again. The second engine was much smaller, so it just kinda skittered across the ground. But I sure am glad no one had picked it up.

Oh, and then it caught on fire.

See for yourself:

Video: BSEC 06-07 - Sixth Meeting in Five Minutes

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